The rural backwoods of Merlin, Oregon, 10 miles north of Grants Pass, is about as far from the epicenter of truck design as one can get. That hasn't stopped Paul Hulst, Andy Peterman, or Jason Hulst from establishing one the country's premier hot-rod shops there. For 30 years, Hulst Customs has built some of the sweetest street trucks ever conceived.
When it comes to the shop's creations, "it's all about a clean look--less is more," says Jason Hulst. "We want to show the form of what we're working on, rather than mask the design. The shape and contour are incorporated into the overall design. Every detail we add has to make sense and flow. From the front fascia, the wheels and tires, and elements like the vents, it's all about the details."
Hulst believes the next big thing in the automotive aftermarket will be diesels. "We identified the turbodiesel diesel dualie movement a year ago at SEMA," notes Jason. "It's not as hip on the West Coast as it is in the South, but we can apply our expertise in hot rods in a unique way to these serious trucks." The guys used this knowledge on a Ford F-350 dualie, building "Striker" in time for the most recent SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As Jason sketched out the design, he was drawn to Ford's performance heritage, especially the iconic Cobra. "We chose black--it's sinister and sets off the proportions just right with the short bed. We then integrated the Cobra elements, including the hood and front fascia. The original Cobra has an open face with the cooling fans, a nerf bar, and jack bracket. But we didn't want to knock it off directly, and as a result came up with the push-bar tow hook that, combined with the grille set three inches back, gives the truck a strong presence." Dominating the truck's look are the massive American Force 24-inch 10-lug wheels.
To upgrade the Striker's 6.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel, Hulst Customs turned to Banks and its Big Hoss Bundle, which is said to add 138 horsepower and 231 pound-feet of torque. The bundle includes Banks' Techni-Cooler intercooler assembly and the PowerPDA Vehicle Command Center. The Ford also has a pair of fully functional side pipes, built by Andy Peterman from 4.5-inch stainless-steel tubing.
Paul Hulst built the fiberglass side vents in the rear dualie fenders. He shaped the bedrail top caps from steel while the tailgate top cap was smoothed and painted. Rear bumpers were tucked, smoothed, and painted as well. Paul also applied the Glasurit black with contrasting Wimbledon White racing stripes. Rounding out the exterior modifications is a new hemispherically designed fifth-wheel hitch supplied by Curt Manufacturing. The result is a menacing look from any angle.